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Protecting Water From Pollution

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Green Fireworks
Teacher Contributed

Red, White, Blue, AND GREEN Fireworks?

Topic

Eco-friendly Fireworks

Student Exploration

Are our beautiful firework displays contaminating the local water?

Scientists have concerns over fireworks containing percholate, a known pollutant harmful to humans and wildlife.

Take a look at these two articles:

What do you think? Should we change our methods for celebrating on New Year’s Eve and Fourth of July?

Extension Investigation

  1. What do we do? In the past few years the EPA has identified percholate as a contaminant and decided to regulate it. Check out the EPA Site. While one solution is to stop having firework displays, particularly ones over the water, another solution would be to design greener (more eco-friendly) fireworks! Here are two articles that discuss current exploration into this:
    1. http://blogs.scientificamerican.com/guest-blog/2012/07/04/green-fireworksenvironmentally-safe-that-is/
    2. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/18311738
  2. Can you think of other ways that we might be polluting our water with our regular daily activities? Identify a source of contamination, research it, and develop an action plan to reduce or eliminate the contamination. Here is an example: Household detergents, shampoos may form harmful substance in wastewater

Resources Cited

César González. Flickr. http://www.flickr.com/photos/destinos360/6621588573/

State of the Planet. Earth Institute. Columbia University. http://blogs.ei.columbia.edu/2009/07/04/fourth-of-july-fireworks-water-contaminants/

Richard T. Wilkin, Dennis D. Fine, and Nicole G. Burnett. Environmental Science and Technology. American Chemical Society. http://pubs.acs.org/doi/abs/10.1021/es0700698

U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. http://water.epa.gov/drink/contaminants/unregulated/perchlorate.cfm/

R. Douglas Fields. Scientific American. http://blogs.scientificamerican.com/guest-blog/2012/07/04/green-fireworksenvironmentally-safe-that-is/ Steinhauser G, Klapötke TM. Angew Chem Int Ed Engl. NCBI. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/18311738

American Chemical Society. http://portal.acs.org/portal/acs/corg/content?_nfpb=true&_pageLabel=PP_ARTICLEMAIN&node_id=223&content_id=CNBP_024973&use_sec=true&sec_url_var=region1&__uuid=e1eee7ce-f1f6-4695-9d1e-167adba8ef04

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